The Schoolhouse at Mutianyu


Location: Beijing, China

Mission: Beijing expats Jim Spear & Liang Tang acquired a peasant’s house in Mutianyu Village nearly two decades ago after a serendipitous encounter with villager Li Fengquan on the Great Wall.

In 2005 Jim & Liang moved to live here full-time and Mayor Li Lianting encouraged them to give something back to the community. Along with old friends Julie Upton-Wang & Peiming Wang they leased Mutianyu’s abandoned primary school and turned it into a restaurant and art glass studio.

Today The Schoolhouse has grown into a comprehensive lodging and dining destination with venues around Bohai Township. We’ve welcomed guests from more than a hundred different countries to our little corner of China for meetings, events, sightseeing, and getaways.

We are a for-profit business with a social mission. We hire local people, grow much of our own food, redeploy existing buildings and used materials, and follow sustainable operating practices. We believe in small-scale projects, supporting local businesses, and consuming food made mainly from fresh, local ingredients. We don’t displace local residents and strive to be good neighbors. We are a work in progress, committed to continuous, incremental improvement.

The Schoolhouse awards fellowships to outstanding individuals who are established artists, scholars, or professionals. The fellowships provide up to 30-day residencies with lodging and meals for the fellow and a life partner at the Great Wall. The purpose is to provide a lowkey environment for fellows to create and think.

Cost: The program covers the cost of food and lodging for the extent of the residency as well as weekly transportation into Beijing. Artists are expected to cover their travel, materials, and other misc expenses.

Application Fee: no application fee

Number of Artists: n/a

Accommodations: Fellows will be placed in accommodations based on availability but living quarters are most frequently at “Grandma’s Place,” a two bedroom two bath accommodation with antique architecture, modern interior, and a view of the Great Wall. A large studio is attached to the Art Room and available to artists during there stay. There is also a hot glass workshop on site.

The Art Room, which started off as the village tractor station during the period of communal agriculture, is a key part of The Schoolhouse campus. It offers a 200 square meter exhibition space filled with natural light that is also used for meetings, receptions, and dining for up to 160 people. There are unobstructed views of mountains and the Great Wall as well as a private outdoor terrace nestled into the hillside.

The facility also contains a 46 square meter studio where guest artists in our fellowship program work. The studio may also be available gratis to other artists for limited periods subject to availability and our business requirements. We welcome enquiries for using the studio or for staging exhibitions.

Current and upcoming exhibitions and events are featured in our newsletter as well as our on-line activities calendar.

Length of Stay: Up to 30 days

Demographic: (see Medium)

Medium: The Schoolhouse is open to creatives from all mediums and nationalities.

Benefits: We run the first hot glass shop in Beijing open to the public. We offer no-charge glassblowing and lamp-working demonstrations for visitors by our own craftspeople in an observer-friendly environment nearly every day. We also provide private demonstrations for a charge as well as create commissioned works on request.

Accommodation, studio, spa, jacuzzi, outdoor spa, yoga classes, glass studio, fitness center, bicycle rental, canteen, restaurant, cost of food covered (in lodge), Complimentary coffee, teas, soft drinks, and homemade cookies are served throughout the day, bar service runs till 24:00, dogs allowed, washer and dryer, small kitchenette, microwave, outdoor grill, grass lawn, view of garden, wireless internet, a/c and heating, two twin size beds and one queen size bed, housekeeping services,

Deadline: Ongoing

Please message us to introduce your practice and include a link to your website. All fellows are accepted for 30-day stays.


China Residencies Profile




Write a Review

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s